Meet Jodi L., the Transfer Coordinator at Multnomah County Animal Services (MCAS).
Jodi is celebrating fifteen years as an Animal Services staff member. She previously held positions of Animal Care Technician I, and Animal Care Technician II.
Background with Animals
Jodi has a love for horses which she developed when she took horseback riding lessons as a child. She wanted to be a jockey for a while, but she got too big.
She rescued a horse from a neglectful situation when she was seventeen years old, but her horse was never able to be ridden, which didn’t dampen their bond.
Jodi was in 4H in school, and had Pygmy Goats growing up. Her step-dad trained Greyhounds, and Jodi helped from the time she was 8 until she was 22. After High School, she traveled the country training Greyhounds. After her experiences, Jodi knew she wanted to train dogs and focus on behavior.
Working for Animal Services
Jodi started working at Animal Services in 2007 as an Animal Care Technician I. She originally wanted to get her foot in the door at MCAS to become an Animal Control Officer, but there were very few vacancies at the time. “Growing up, I was really fascinated by the reality shows on Animal Planet showing the work of Animal Control Officers,” Jodi says. “I love animals, and the job looked really interesting.” Jodi has since found that she really enjoys the hands-on time with the animals working in the shelter. “In the shelter, you get to see the animals from the time they arrive to when they leave,” Jodi says. “The shelter is ultimately where I want to be.”
Jodi was promoted to an Animal Care Technician II, where she assisted with canine behavior evaluations, enrichment, and adoption counseling for ten years.
Spay & Neuter
One thing Jodi has learned a lot about in the sheltering world is the importance of spaying and neutering animals, and educating the public about why that’s important. Low-cost Spay & Neuter programs like Spay & Save have made a significant impact on animal overpopulation in our region, and on animal shelter capacity and live-release rates. As an Animal Care worker for 15 years, Jodi feels the direct impact of those changes, in everything from the number of animals to care for in the kennels to reduced humane euthanasia over time.
Developing Behavior Skills
“One thing I didn’t really know about before I worked here is just how many animals end up in the shelter through no fault of their own,” Jodi says. “Through a combination of overbreeding of domestic pets, a lack of resources for people to be able to afford veterinary care and behavior training, a lot of families feel like they don’t have alternatives to surrendering their animals.”
“We see a lot of adolescent dogs that don’t have solidified training or social skills. A lot of people don’t have the finances or the time to invest in what’s needed for the dogs. It can feel overwhelming, but you have to take the time to shape and work on behaviors. Dogs aren’t going to be perfect from the get-go.”
Period of Adjustment After Adoption
TLDR Advice to Adopters- Commit to stick with it through the first few months. Those will be the worst times, but they will continue to get better and better.
“In adoption counseling, we try to help adopters conceptualize the needs of the animals and how they tie in to their lifestyles, and what the adoptive relationship is going to be like. Some dogs are returned because they felt too big for the space they have, but these are things we can prepare for before adoption to make sure we can find a good fit for the dogs and for the adopters.
“It’s also important to remember that all adoptive animals need at least several weeks to several months to acclimate to a new environment. Animals coming from the shelter have experienced a lot of change, loud noises, strange animals and people, which can be really stressful, and you may see the impact of that when the animals first arrive home. They need to settle, shake off the stress, become familiar with the space and the new people or animals in it, and what their new routine will be like.
“From personal experience with some of my own pets, I can tell you that it can be absolutely terrible and overwhelming at first. But if you stick through it, you’ll notice that it gets better and better, to the point that your relationship with your pet is fulfilling, and you can’t imagine life without them.”
In Jodi’s new position as the Transfer Coordinator, she plays an integral role in finding positive outcomes for shelter animals, and working with regional shelters and rescues.
Jodi is assuming a new role that was previously combined with duties of the Foster Coordinator, which was a very big lift for one staff member with the way the shelter has increased its use of transfers and foster volunteers over the years. In splitting the roles, MCAS plans to expand capacity for transfers and fosters, and allow staff to focus on each unique role.
“I’m super excited to get into the position and see how we can improve and expand our transfer program, and create lasting relationships with new and existing transfer partners,” Jodi says.
Transfer Partners Save Lives
“Our transfer partners save lives. We have a core group of rescue agencies we work with to transfer animals to places where they can have a better chance of being adopted. Some of them have much more adoption demand, different demographics and more traffic than we do. A lot of the smaller rescues are foster based, so the animals aren’t going to another shelter environment, which can help a lot with stress relief.
“Transferring animals has had a big impact on length-of-stay. Having transfer partners willing to work with us on a regular basis helps move animals out of the shelter quickly, and into new homes. Sometimes animals just need a change of venue to find the right fit.
“I want to work more closely with our existing partners, and also expand on the rescues we transfer to, looking beyond the Portland community. I want to grow the current program and see what else is out there besides our core group. I also want to get a better grasp for what types of animal behaviors our community and our rescue partners are comfortable working with, which will help us make effective decisions for placement.
“I would also like to broaden our adoption outreach efforts. I want MCAS to get back out there and hold small adoption events outside the shelter, to reach more people and place animals for adoption. When we had these events before, it was not only engaging for the community, but it was really rewarding for our volunteers, too.”
Round of Apaws
“We’re really grateful to our long-time core partners, Oregon Humane Society and Cat Adoption Team, for continuing to offer a significant level of support for transferred animals.
“We’ve also seen great support from Harmony New Beginnings, which has been willing to take most of our livestock animals that come in and aren’t reclaimed. They also take small dogs in need of additional behavior support. Recently, they also took over thirty rabbits. They have been amazing to work with.
“Stumptown Strays has also been taking a lot of medical cases from us, including the recent case of Tinkerbell, a geriatric dog recovering from a massive inguinal hernia. We’re really grateful they gave her a shot. They have been really awesome.”
Thank you, Jodi, for your ongoing service to the pets and people of Multnomah County.
Transfer & Community Adoption Partners
We’re grateful to all our regional shelter and rescue partners who have transferred in animals from MCAS since 2020.
- Animal Aid
- Born Again Pitbull Rescue
- Bull Terrier Rescue Inc
- Bulldog Haven NW
- Cat Adoption Team
- Cat Alliance Team Sanctuary
- Cat's Meow Rescue
- Cavalier Rescue
- Columbia Cascade Great Pyrenees Rescue
- Columbia Humane Society
- Columbia River Correctional Institution
- Compass Point Rescue
- Displaced Pets Rescue
- Exotic Bird Rescue Of Oregon
- Family Dogs New Life Shelter
- Felines First Rescue
- Feral Cat Awareness Team
- Foster Pets NW
- Fur Love Haven
- FurFriends Rescue Inc
- Golden Bond Rescue
- Harmony New Beginnings Animal Rescue
- Homeward Bound Pets
- Hope's Haven
- House Of Dreams
- Humane Society Of Southwest Washington
- Indigo Rescue
- Jack Russell Rescue
- Kuddles And Scales Rescue
- Lancaster Four Dog Rescue
- Mastiff Rescue Of Oregon
- Michelle Verheyden Reptiles
- Mini Aussie Rescue & Support, Inc.
- Must Love Dogs
- My Way Home
- Natural Pet Food Solutions
- Nature's Pet
- Nike Animal Rescue Foundation
- Northwest Animal Companions
- Northwest Boxer Rescue
- NW Snowdog Rescue
- OFOSA - Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals
- Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
- Oregon Humane Society
- Oregon Humane Society Salem Campus (formerly Willamette Humane Society)
- Oregon Weimaraner Rescue
- Pacific Pug Rescue
- Pets On Broadway
- Portland Audubon
- Portland Guinea Pig Rescue
- Rabbit Advocates
- Rabbit Haven
- Rose City Rabbit Rescue
- Seattle Beagle Rescue
- Second Chance Companions
- Sellwood Dog Supply/Cat Annex
- Sound Equine Options
- Street Dog Hero
- Street Savvy Dog Rescue
- Stumptown Strays
- The Heart of Rescue
- Washington Department Of Corrections
- Western Aussie Rescue
- Wildwood Farm Sanctuary
- Willamette Valley Ferret Shelter